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Insider

Johnson: Lin stood out in high school

2/13/2012

"Linsanity" might be sweeping the NBA, but it's easy to see the ripples in college basketball.

Jeremy Lin has had a torrid week for the New York Knicks. He's come from being an undrafted free agent on the verge of being cut to becoming the toast of the league. The Harvard graduate bounced around the league after going undrafted, but has suddenly caught fire in the Big Apple after earning a start as a last resort.

Interestingly enough, one of the first people to hear about Lin is now the head man in Baton Rouge.

Trent Johnson was the head man at Stanford when Lin led Palo Alto High School to the Division II state championship in California. It's become well known in the last week that despite Lin's status as an all-state player, he didn't receive scholarship offers from Stanford, UCLA or any other California programs.

"Jeremy coming out of high school was a good basketball player, but we were committed to Landry Fields and Da’Veed Dildy … and we talked about the walk-on possibility," Johnson said.

Johnson added he was reluctant to give Lin a scholarship because of the potential early departure of Brook and Robin Lopez, two future draft picks who were part of Stanford's 2006 class.

"There were a lot of Stanford people … that thought we should have scholarshipped him, but what was best for our program was to try to get him to walk on," Johnson said.

Stanford has come under fire during Lin's rise to prominence for failing to recruit the hometown product, but Johnson said plenty of people whiffed along the way.

"Who drafted Jeremy Lin? And where's Jeremy Lin right now," Johnson asked. "I think the mistakes are being made now."

Johnson said that if anything, Lin's explosion as a pro speaks to the importance of development at the college level, saying that Lin has come a long way as a player since his days in Palo Alto.

"It speaks volumes to what this thing should be about -- get your education. Your junior and senior year is when you start to develop and get good," Johnson said. "When you listen to him talk, he talks about all the right things ... school, getting better, respecting the job."